Father-Son Bond – Bon Joy-age Forever

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For long, I have been truly fascinated by the unique relationship that exists between a father and son. All around stories abound about mother-son, mother-daughter or even a father-daughter relationship, all of which have been dealt with umpteen times. But what is truly riveting and at the same time a little difficult to comprehend is the inexplicable bond that binds a father and son. A thin thread that is almost incomprehensible to an outsider, but very much alive and throbbing in its omnipresence, thriving through the ups and downs of life.


Very often a complex relationship exists between a father and his son. It adds a totally new dimension to humanity. However, it is this very unique relationship between a father and son, which makes it so real. There are many sons in the world who are constantly competing with their siblings particularly female, to earn the love and attention of their father. One must try to sympathize and understand this usually unspoken but deep bond.


The son may often show the darker aspects of his personality like jealousy and pride. But the underlying reason will be very simple. It may merely be to gain the father’s attention, to make him feel proud. Only a truly evolved human being will be able to capture the delicate and sometimes dark undertone that by and large characterizes a father-son bond.


One personal instance that comes to my mind is that of a neighborhood businessman who had three sons. The father’s relationship with his eldest son had to be seen to be believed, with the two barely communicating with each other directly. It always either had to be the mother or sister or other relatives being the medium in their sometimes weird and funny indirect conversations, to outsiders like us. One fine day, we were witness to a unique drama unfolding in our building’s front courtyard.


The son had to go off on his bike to do some chores, but seeing his father too getting ready to leave too offered him a ride, without so much as looking at him directly. The father accepted the offer with a nod of his head and just as he was about to be seated on the bike, the son zoomed off. A good ten minutes later, the son returned to see the hilariously quizzical expression on the father’s face, and with nary a word spoken the two once again sat back into their seats and zoomed off on their different sojourns. This incident is still etched in my memory and till today produces oodles of merriment from within, whenever I think about the father’s expression.


Hindi film lore is replete with real life instances of the intense bond existing between a father and son be it an actor, director or film technician. The one touching instance that comes to mind is the relationship shared between the famous film maker Karan Johar and his late father – producer Yash Johar. Karan Johar’s speech at a high profile award’s night in which his father was honored with a lifetime achievement award, should be written in golden letters in the annals of cinema folklore.


Speaking totally impromptu and deep from the recesses of his heart, Karan went on to recollect all that his father had done for the film fraternity, his family and his own bonding with his father. He then went on to exhort all sons without wasting a single minute, to go ahead and tell their fathers how much they truly loved them and hug them before it’s too late. It was truly a poignant moment with veteran producer Yash Johar sitting completely overwhelmed and completely speechless at his son’s open display of emotion in full public glare.


Perhaps, it could also be because Karan was aware that his father had only a few months to live, since at that point in time he was suffering from a terminal disease.  However, what he spoke that day touched the hearts of millions of viewers and people in the audience, especially the sons who must have even thought of their own relationship with their fathers and done a bit of rethinking. There were a lot of misty eyes in the audience prominent among them being Sunjay Dutt, who after the death of his mother had grown closer to his father, their bonding more obvious to everyone. Before Sunil Dutt passed away both of them had become extremely close and protective about each other.


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However, one father-son bonding which has never been under wraps so to speak or subtle has been the open display of affection between the ever popular ‘Garam Dharam’ with his sons Sunny and Bobby Deol, especially the latter. In any interview one just need to mention his son’s name, and Dharam paaji’s face glows with paternal pride and typical Jat chauvinism, while with Bobby Deol on the other hand, a mere mention of his father’s name  is enough for tears to instantly well up in his eyes, clearly showing how much he hero-worships his father. However, the elder son Sunny the eternal introvert, being a bit circumspect still manages to convey his intense feeling for his father in a few words.


Then there is this refined, cultured and discreet bond shared between the superstar Hrithik and his father actor/director Rakesh Roshan, the latter a shy introverted guy who has seen lots of ups and downs in his life and career.  However, fighting against the toughest odds has today managed to make a name for himself as a successful producer/ director. One story which comes to mind is that of a young well protected and pampered school-going Hrithik sitting in the back seat of his car, listening in disbelief  to his parents grimly discussing their future with all their life savings poured into their film and awaiting the audience verdict on a Friday. Thankfully for them, the film proved to be a mega-hit and catapulting Roshan senior to super director category.


However, that incident did leave an indelible mark on the mind of the junior Roshan. Much later, Hrithik was completely shattered when his father was shot by under-world gangsters whilst coming out of his office. Rakesh Roshan managed to narrowly escape from the jaws of death, with the bullet missing his heart by a few inches. The subsequent interview which a completely shattered Hrithik gave on TV, threatening to leave the film industry bears ample testimony to the intense love that he has for his father. I am sure touched this interview touched an emotional chord in almost all viewers who saw that episode.


Then there are other filmy son-father bonding, the most high profile of which is the one shared between superstar father Amitabh Bachchan and his equally famous and talented son Abhishek. Their bonding is the kind that happens only in fairy-land. A unique camaraderie exists between them along-with tremendous respect for one other which is so evident in their conversations to each other or to the media. They seem more like friends rather then father and son. Then there is the father son pair of Feroz Khan and Fardeen Khan, who made his debut film for him and later on during his drug phase stood solidly behind him, similarly there is Vinod Khanna who made ‘Himalaya Putra’ for his highly talented son Akshay Khanna, though the film bombed, but it set his career in motion. Then there is of course the ‘Jumping Jack’ Jitendra.


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His son a very proud Scorpio refused a cushioned launch from his father and went on to give big hits all on his own merit. The sheer pleasure on his father’s face has to be seen to be believed, with open displays of emotion by the latter.  However the shy Tushar shirks away from any public displays of emotion but is totally in awe and truly respects what his father has achieved in his career. Their love and affection for each other is palpable and seen to be believed.


Of course there is the celebrated example of superstar and dancing king Govinda, who had cut off ties with his father the veteran actor Ahuja. Govinda kept away from his father for years for what he perceived was his father’s ill-treatment of his mother singer Nirmala Devi, whom he had deserted. It was only after his father fell sick, that something snapped in him and he rushed to do all he could for his father.


He is understood to have said that he has long since forgiven his father. Moreover, he is even believed to have said differences existed between his parents and he had nothing to do with it.  But "this does not change the fact that he is after all my own flesh and blood. Hence I have no right to judge him."  Well, as the saying goes better late then never, and accordingly a wise Govinda mended fences with his father, before the latter left this earth forever.


All these examples cited above are from the Hindi film industry and furnished here just to indicate that this quiet but strong bond (indeed God’s own creation) thrives even in a notoriously cut-throat world like the film industry. Here relationships are alleged to have no meaning, where everything is purely a business deal or proposition. Where relationships are made or broken with a hit or flop and no other consideration. Where today’s king is tomorrow’s pauper. So even in the glare of such a ruthlessly hard core professional world, there exists and flourishes a truly wonderful bond which must never be allowed to die, EVER.

Author: Shuchi- Mangalore